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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from David Campbell to Richard Caswell
Campbell, David
November 30, 1786
Volume 22, Pages 651-652

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State of Franklin, Caswell County, Nov. 30th, 1786.

May it please your Excellency:

I have hesitated to adress you on so delicate a Subject as the present. I shall only State a few Facts, and leave your Excellency to draw the Conclusions.

Is not the Continent of America, one Day, to become one consolidated Government of United States?

Is not your State, connected with this part of the Country, too extensive? Are we not, then, one Day to be a separate people? Do you receive any Advantages from us now, or do you ever expect to receive any? I believe you do not. Suffer us, then, to pursue our own happiness in a way most agreeable to our Situation and Circumstances.

The plans laid for a regular & Systematical Government in this Country are greatly frustrated by the opposition from your Country. Can a people so nearly connected as yours are with ours delight in our misfortunes?

The rapid Settlements that are making and have been made out of the bounds prescribed both by your State & ours, is a matter worthy of your consideration. Our divisions are favourable to those who have a mind to transgress our Laws. If you were to urge us, and it were possible we should revert back to you, in what a Labyrinth of difficulties would you be involved? Witness the many Lawsuits which have been decided under the Sanction of the Laws of Franklin, the retryal of which would involve many persons in certain Ruin. If we set out wrong, or were too hasty in our Seperation, this Country is not altogether to blame; Your State pointed out the Line of Conduct which we adopted. We really thought you in earnest when you ceded us to Congress; if you then thought we ought to be seperate, or you now think we ever ought, permit us to compleat the Work that is more than half done; suffer us to give energy to our Laws & force to our Counsels, by saying we are a seperate and independent people, and we will yet be happy.

I Suppose it will astonish your Excellency to hear there are many families settled within nine Miles of the Cherokee Nation. What will be the consequence of those emigrations? Our Laws & Government

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must conclude those people or they will become dangerous. It is in vain to say they must be restrained. Has not all America extended their back Settlements in opposition to Laws & Proclamations? The Indians are now become more pusilanimous, and consequently will be more & more incroached upon. They must, they will be circumscribed.

Some of your politicians think we have not men of abilities to conduct the Reigns of Government. This may in some measure be true; but all new States must have a beginning, and we are daily increasing in men both of political & Law knowledge.

It was not from a love of novelty, or the desire of Titles, I believe, that our Leaders were induced to engage in the present Revolution, but from pure necessity. We were getting into confusion, and you know any Government is better than Anarchy.

Matters will be differently represented to you, but you may rely on it, a great majority of the people here are anxious for a seperation. Nature has seperated us—do not oppose her in her works; by acquiesing you will bless us and do yourselves no injury. You will bless us by uniting the disaffected, and do yourselves no injury, because you lose nothing but people who are a clog on your Government & to whom you cannot do equal justice by reason of their detached situation.

I was appointed to wait on your General Assembly to urge a Ratification of our Independence; but the misfortune of loosing one of my Eyes and some other occurrances prevented me; you will therefore pardon me for the Liberties I have taken, whilst I am endeavouring to serve a people whose Situation is truely critical.

I am your Excellency’s Most Obt. Hbl. Serv’t,


His Excellency Richard Caswell, Governor State No. Carolina.
David Campbell, Esqr., 30 Novr., 1786.